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'Atlas Shrugged Part 2' Box Office: One of Worst Opening Weekends Ever

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 Samantha Mathis Esai Morales Jason BegheAtlas Shrugged Part 2 box office: One of the worst opening weekends ever

Atlas Shrugged: Part II, the story of free-enterprising heroine Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling in Part 1, Samantha Mathis in Part 2), suffered one of the worst domestic openings ever for a movie in wide release (600-2,000 theaters), according to data found at Box Office Mojo. This past weekend, the sequel to last year's box office bomb Atlas Shrugged Part 1 debuted with a dismal $1.75 million at 1,012 locations, averaging a disastrous $1,731 per venue. (Image: Esai Morales as Francisco d'Anconia, Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart, Jason Beghe as Henry Rearden, Atlas Shrugged Part 2.)

Adjusted for inflation, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is no. 98 on the Worst Openings Ever chart, and despite a much wider release than its predecessor will quite possibly end its run with less than $4 million at the domestic box office – or rather, at the box office, period. Reportedly budgeted at $20m, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will find no following internationally, as Ayn Rand's Tea Party-embraced views (minus Rand's derision of religion and the blindly religious) are a purely American phenomenon.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 vs. Atlas Shrugged Part 1

For comparison's sake: Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the first part of a projected movie trilogy based on Ayn Rand's sprawling 1957 novel opened with $1.68 million in mid-April 2011. Oh, but wait! What's the problem with your math? Isn't Part 2's $1.75 million more than Part 1's $1.68m?

Well, of course it is. But another obvious fact is that Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opened at 299 locations vs. Atlas Shrugged Part 2's 1,012 venues. As a result, Atlas Shrugged Part 1's first-weekend per-theater average was a not unimpressive (for a little known small movie) $5,640 per site.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2's $1,731 per-theater average, on the other hand, leaves the film no room for any further expansions, unless multiplex owners are looking forward to screening the movie to mostly empty seats. For comparison's sake: Last year, Atlas Shrugged Part 1 distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures added 166 locations on weekend no. 2, but to no avail. Despite its decent opening, the Tea Party crowd favorite's per-theater average plummeted to $1,280. Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was gone after three more weekends, cuming at $4.62 million.

In the last two days, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 added $253,000 at the North American box office. Its cume after five days stands at $2 million.

Atlas Shrugged movies vs. the critics

Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was massacred by North American critics. The film has a putrid 6 percent approval rating and 3.2/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Fearing another such critical reception, Atlas Distribution opted to keep critics far away from their release.

Now, that approach may work well for some horror movies, whose moviegoers don't (or can't) read; but one key problem for a “small movie” such as Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is that no reviews often means no audience awareness. Admittedly, not that reviews would have helped much: the Dagny Taggart movie currently has a 0 percent approval rating and 2.2/10 average rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (“A disaster as a film,” wrote the Philadelphia Enquirer's Tirdad Derakhshani, “Atlas also is laughable in its presentation of Rand's ideology.”)

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast

The Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast includes the aforementioned Samantha Mathis, in addition to Jason Beghe, Esai Morales, Kim Rhodes, Richard T. Jones, and Patrick Fabian. John Putch directed, from a screenplay credited to television writer Duke Sandefur and Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and Cemetery Gate's Brian Patrick O'Toole.

Esai Morales, Samantha Mathis, Jason Beghe Atlas Shrugged Part 2 photo: Atlas Distribution.

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14 Comments to 'Atlas Shrugged Part 2' Box Office: One of Worst Opening Weekends Ever

  1. Norman

    So Shaun walked out after 45 minutes and didn't stay for the second half. The second half possibly could have redeemed the film for him. Maybe the theme was just too far over his head.

  2. John Galt for President

    No wonder most people don't it - Ayn Rand predicted our current politics so perfectly that it hits home in a painful way. Socialism is a rationalization for tyranny that has failed everywhere it has been tried, and we seem bound and determined to join in the other global failures.

    And, no wonder Film Critics don't like it. It is a painful reminder that they contribute nothing of real value, and that their only fame comes through their sarcastic ridicule of those who actually create things of value to our society.

    For those who HAVE actually read Rand's book, the movie is at least as well done as made-for-tv movies, and better than many Hollywood releases. It fairly is faithful to the original book, and the updates to make the “advanced technologies” actually better than what we have today are far more believable than the theory that we can spend our way into prosperity. Yes, I was disappointed that they changed actresses for Dagney - but the new actress is more realistic, looking a bit beaten down by the ever growing forces of despotism falsely proclaiming themselves the stewards of the “common good.”

    This movie is a great reminder that America can still be Great again - if we simply eject the worst of the parasites from Washington.

  3. Shaun Patterson

    Part two was the WORST movie EVER, so bad I walked out after 45 minutes. I watched part one a month ago and yes it started dry buy getting to know the characters and how the actors played their part was what drew me in. Yes it is a low budget film and actors aren't top notch but the storyline was interesting and the cast really grew on me.

    When I sat down in the theater for part two I was eager to see a continuation from the last…. at least somewhat, but I was met with new faces, new acting styles, and could not get into the movie at all. I am very disappointed with this waste of a movie, I never walk out of movies…. I even sat through the Mexican . This is one waste of a theater

  4. wes

    i cried after i saw this movie


    i didn't realize why till 5 days later: it was a horrible movie

    thank you, david kelley

  5. Kate Gladstone

    How is this “one of the worst movies ever” getting 81% audience approval at rottentomatoes.com ?


    Your contempt for the message comes through. Are you afraid of actually saying something good about a point of view you don't agree with? I watched the movie and it's not bad, for a low budget indie it's actually good. If you really want to review movies step back and look at a bigger world.

  7. Berryman1

    Why should a conservative work of individualism be critiqued by the liberal media? Hollywood isn't going for anything with appeal to the mind but rather the emotions only.
    Atlas Shrugged is 55 years old and the theme of the novel is being played out today in close proximity. The sheep haven't figured it out since they sit before the one eyed monster that keeps them entertained until the jack booted thugs tear down their doors and enter without a warrant or even due cause.

  8. rjf

    We get it: you really, really dislike Atlas Shrugged! This is the third article in one week saying so.

    A single article would be one thing, but honestly at this point it isn't even amusing to point out the bias, because it has been thoroughly demonstrated already. Gearing up for negative article number four, I'll wager.

  9. gokmorgan

    Oh wait a minute. Your assessment is based on the political rally of the Tea Party group attendance? What a weak evaluation.

  10. gokmorgan

    We nejoyed it and thought it well made. We didn't go to first night opening and the movie theater was full.
    As far as number of openings etc. etc., since the movie is not a product of mainstream Hollywood with the fancy stars and Chinatown opening, I say it did very well.

  11. Lucette

    Watch out America it could happen for real.can not wait to see # 3

  12. Chris Walker

    The movie only ran in one theatre in our town and on one screen, it was sold out an hour in advance. IDIOTS! Anyone who does not see this is a LOOTER and should get everything they deserve.

  13. Brad

    Atlas Shrugged a really Bad Book made a really bad movie Surprize!
    Hope this proves that there is NO virtue of selfishness

  14. So Atlas Shrugged is disrespected by the “Alternative Film Guide,” for being different and not making millions of dollars? Alternative = Mainstream. Chant the chant! Follow the trends! Dreamworks is the new alternative!